Unplanned Pregnancies – Then vs. Now

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What was a typical day like for your average nineteen-year-old thirty years ago? When you woke up, you were glad there was nothing electronic close at hand to open up the world to you. You, alone, away from it all…perfect. Once awake, you’d turn on your favorite radio station or you’d rewind your cassette to hear your favorite Billy Joel, Whitney Houston, or Lionel Richie song again.

You were thrilled your parents got that extra-long phone cord so you could, at last, leave the kitchen and walk into the bathroom to talk to your friends.

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“Well, then call me as soon as you get back home. I have to tell you something,” or “If no one answers, I’ll call later. Just make sure you are by a phone when home,” were statements often said.

It was hard to decide which one of those six stations to watch on that big, boxy TV.

You loved grabbing the delivered daily newspaper your parents had on the kitchen counter to check movie times.

Later on, it was time to put eighty-nine-cents-per-gallon gas in your stick shift before picking up a few friends, grabbing ninety-nine-cent double cheeseburgers at McD’s before watching the movie called Star Trek lV, or The Voyage Home, that cost a whopping $2.75 to see. That’s what life was like for me when I was nineteen.

Until, that is, I found out I was pregnant. (1*) Life was so different back then, and I felt so alone. I’m certain many women feel like that even today, but because of the way we now have such easy access to helpful information, I think it’s safe to say, thankfully, that not quite so many feel as alone as I did.

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There were no cell phones back in 1986, so, when sitting in my car, away from the world,  I couldn’t secretly look up information on where to get a pregnancy test.

No laptops, I-pads, or cell phones to tweet #unplannedpregnancies. No opening up your laptop to type in www.crisispregnancy.com, either. No putting in ‘first trimester’ to get a long list of websites covering the subject. I would have loved to have found a Facebook group for Christians going through an unplanned pregnancy, or Twitter to find encouraging verses and quotes. But no. I felt like I was in my own little world, not able to connect with any Christians who had been, or were, going through what I was experiencing. I now know that if I did not have my church family during that time, I would have gone bonkers. But still, there was no one to Skype with who could look at me, face-to-face, and say, “Let’s talk. Believe me, I know what it’s like and how you’re feeling.”

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Unplanned pregnancies can be dealt with quite a bit differently now than thirty years ago. Now, you can get info about anything from anywhere. Heck, you can even get your best help or support from total strangers all around the world! I’m sure I would have been getting information and insight from my I-phone, I-pad, or I-mac. (Yes, you can call me an I-fan!) There are also more organizations that have opened their doors for needed tests, information, and support.

For years, I put off writing my story being as so much had changed since I was pregnant. Then it hit me. Unplanned pregnancies are still that: un…planned…pregnancies. They were the same back then as they are now: an unexpected shock to women, followed by overwhelming emotions and stress for all involved. Once realizing this, I then decided—with encouragement from others—to write my book, showing what I went through. (2*) Yes, the means of getting helpful information about this type of pregnancy may now be different, and the number of people you are able to connect with who are going through the same thing can sure help one feel less alone, but overall, we’re still the same. Back then and now, our hearts and minds are where our feelings and thoughts are stored.

And God’s the same, as well! That’s the best fact. He has not changed how He carries those who follow Him. He sure carried me then and He sure carries His children now.

Hebrews 13:8: Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Sure, He might now use that perfect website to guide you in what help or information to get.  I just know I’d never change what He used to guide me to what was best.

The good old yellow pages. (3*)

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1* – Click here to read what it was like when I took the pregnancy test.

2* – Click here to read what got me to write my book

3* Click here to find out how the yellow pages fit into my story

The Hardest Phone Call to Make – part 2

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One last re-showing of a few past blogs to get all up to par of where I’m at with my story. This piece shares writing directly from my book about my unplanned pregnancy which I dealt with when I was nineteen years old. The title is God and My Pillow because those are the only two who really knew all of my heart, soul, and mind during this difficult time. My last post shared what got me to finally make the hardest thing I’ve ever had to make: a phone call.   Click here  to read that post.

Ring, ring. Ring, ring. Ring, ri…

“Hello.”

It was him. It hit me hard.  It’s him.

“Hello.”  Does he recognize my voice?  “Is this Greg?”

“Yes, it is. Is this… Marianne?” I could tell from his tone of voice that he was surprised.

“Yes, it is.”

“Oh. Well, hello.”

Should I talk about the weather for a spell? No.

“If you’re wondering why I’m calling, I’m… I’m  calling to let you know… I’m pregnant and that the… the baby is yours.”

Silence.

“You’re–pregnant?” A little space between those words.

“Yes.”

Silence. I knew I needed to allow him a little time to breathe and come out of shock, but finally I had to say something. I said, a bit slower than normal, “So, what are you thinking?”

His answer showed that he didn’t know what in the world to think. I was rather bold, and told him right up front that an abortion was not an option. I could tell he was disappointed, but thankfully he didn’t make a big deal about that decision.  A sudden trap, I’m sure he felt.

We ended the talk by agreeing to go through this together, but that he would wait to hear from me on what I decided to do. I was a bit sad that there was no bold, mature, adult response like, “No matter what, I’m right by your side and will aim at making this the best thing for us both. I love you and will do anything that’s best for our baby. I’m eager to meet your parents, to show them I will take care of us all.” Instead, he had a more of a “yeah, whatever” attitude. I just told myself that it was better he be that way than have some selfish, mean, I don’t care attitude. He agreed it was his responsibility to do something, even if it meant we would get married and keep the baby.

Me? Getting married? Now? I knew I didn’t want to decide right then over the phone, so I told him I’d get back with him in a few days. I hung up, telling myself the talk went pretty well. But I also found myself needing to find something good out of everything lately.

After hanging up the phone, I felt like hiding from the world for a while. My thoughts of deciding what to do had begun, but they were too hard to share with anyone.hommes-naiment-chez-femmes-fuir

I could give the baby up for adoption and have no connection with Greg; have the baby and not get married; or have the baby and get married. I didn’t want to hear from anyone right then and I didn’t feel like deciding. I just wanted God to tell me.

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Why am I sharing this particular part from God and My Pillow? To make up for not including more here of what followed with Greg. It’s better to wait to read what I like to call the soap-opera part of my book. I feel it’s best for my book to show how God carried me through this entire ordeal, from beginning to end, with this young man.

My story is written to help readers understand how God may decide to put you through your own soap opera, one you’re not sure you can survive. I want to show you He can, and will, get you through it, holding you tightly and never letting go.

 

(1) Click here  to read my blog prior to this one, and/or click here  to see how this entire story began.

 

 

Unplanned Pregnancy – Look Back Before Going Forward

In my next post I’ll continue sharing more of my unplanned pregnancy ordeal that took place when I was nineteen year old. Being it’s been a bit too long since I last touched on this topic, today I’m going  back a few posts to my last writing on this subject. Or, if you have not read any about my story, then why not just click right here to start reading from the very beginning of my soap opera and see how God has intertwined though out it all.

The Hardest Phone Call To Make – part 1

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So one day there I was, Marianne, nineteen years old, recently begun my new walk as a Christian with Christ right by my side as I was full of energy to face the world. The next day, however, I was that same nineteen-year-old who was now faced with an unplanned pregnancy, wanting to hide from the world.

I was relieved after telling my parents the day I found out, with an abundant amount of love from both of them softening my guilt. They showed no signs that they wanted to scratch me with any shame. They probably knew I was already holding enough shame inside.

Telling them I was pregnant still gets the title as the toughest thing I have ever had to tell anyone. Now sure, a few years earlier I had to finally tell the boss where I had been working for about four months that I was six months younger than the legal age to work there, with the result of instantly being fired from my job. That, however, was nothing compared to telling my parents I was pregnant.

Thankfully, the love expressed from my parents—along with my six older siblings—was the start of feeling that God was helping me at the beginning of this tough road I was now on.  I wasn’t encouraged enough to feel total peace in telling the entire world, however. Just my family knowing—along with my pillow, after it had soaked up my many thoughts by this point—was all I could bear for a few days. And then I told my best friend. That talk proved to me even more why she was my best friend.

I knew it best I talk to the pastor at my church, but being a Monday I found out I was pregnant, I decided to wait unit Sunday to talk to him face to face. Wondering how to tell my pastor filled much of my thoughts. But telling someone else filled up even more: the father. I became almost impossible not to think of how and when to tell my ex-boyfriend. Most of me didn’t want to tell him but I knew the smaller part of me was going to win. I had to tell him. Even though our relationship ended a few weeks before the thought of taking a pregnancy test even existed, a phone call was a must.

“Marianne,” my mother mentioned a time or twenty, “just call him and get it over with.”

bad newsI couldn’t use ‘I’m too busy’ being as I had no job or any time-consuming hobby to use as an excuse. And no way was I in the mood to just hang out with friends to fill up time. I tried my darndest to delay calling him as long as possible. Thomas Jefferson’s saying ‘Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today’  got pushed under my rug. Finally, towards the end of that week, I gave in and (gulp) called.

Ring, ring. Ring, ring. Ring, ri…

“Hello.”

To be continued.

What? I’m 50?

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Ready for a few questions? What do you think of when you put the numbers 5 and 0 together? Obviously 50. 50 minutes, 50 cents, $50, 50 pounds, 50 whatever. Why am I asking? Because this last April 1, just a few days ago, I turned the big 5-0. Wish I could say APRIL FOOLS, but I can’t. It’s true. I’m 50 years old.

Now, I could say I’m not 50, but 18 with 32 years’ experience. Or, I’m not 50, but 49.75 plus shipping and handling. But nope. I’m at peace to say I’m now 50. It’s a nice round number that slides off the tongue easier than 49. But the better reason is there’s much of life to look back on—and yet, there’s still so much more ahead. I really don’t mind being 50 because, to me, it just means one day closer being with the Lord.  

I want to share the most valuable thing I’ve learned these last 50 years: growing closer to Christ has been the best part of getting older.  The words to one of my favorite songs explain some of the reasons why, being as I shared in the past how the words of songs can mean so much to me. So heck, why not?  It’s just another perfect time to share another song. (1*)

God of All My Days by Casting Crowns. (Even the title makes it fit perfectly for my birthday.)

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Each time I hear it, I overflow with thankfulness, being reminded I am one of His chosen. That one fact has brought me more peace as each year has gone by. He’s carried me now for many years, as every day, some how, some way, shows me I am one of His.  He’s been, like the song says, the God of all my days. Or, to be exact, 599 months, 2 weeks, 2 days, 13 hours, 13 minutes and 20 seconds…and still counting.

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Pass along one of your favorite songs. I’d love to see which ones stand out to you.

1* Check out this older post that explains my love for music.                                                         

2* Click here and listen to Loving My Jesus by Casting Crowns. Believe me, you’ll see why this song stands out to me.

 

God’s Timing Is Perfect Even If It Means Ice Cream Might Melt

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I’d like to share another time when God showed me His Timing Is Perfect. (1*) (2*) One day three years ago,  back  when our budget was a bit too tight,  I tried to get back into house cleaning as I had done years earlier.

“Oh, great,”  I willingly but not so energetically thought, “Once again I’ll somehow get my name out to find new customers.”

While I was doing all I could to connect to possible customers, God was hearing me often ask for His guidance in how to connect with who.

About one week after I started giving it my all, one fall windy evening something took place. As I was pushing my grocery cart with four filled-to-the-brim bags to my car, I saw something a bit odd: a tow truck behind someone’s car parked in the disable spot with the truck driver talking to an elderly lady. I slowly walked by, hoping to hear what was going on.

“I can’t get your car to start,” said the tow truck driver, “Where would you like me to tow it?”

“Oh, my! I don’t know what to do,” was one sad elderly ladies answer, “Just tow it to my place and tomorrow I’ll have to try to figure out what I’ll do next.”

‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’, one of my favorite verses, came to mind. I began pondering.

One thought came to mind while trying to ignore the fact that the ice cream in one of my bags was melting.

“Um…excuse me but I couldn’t help but hear what the problem is. I have a suggestion.”

“Please, tell us!”  they both replied.

“Right across the street,” I said while pointing, “is the auto repair place I take my car. I know them well. They are closed now but how about you tow the car there, we both leave a note, and in the morning talk to them about your car. I’ll also offer to take you and your food to where you were headed, assuming it’s close by?”

Both mouths dropped.

“And if you have no way to get it after it’s fixed, maybe I can take you back to pick your car up.”

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“Wow, You mean that? You’ll really help me. You’re an angel!” the elderly lady said. “Oh, thank you so much!”

“That sure sounds good to me,” said the truck driver.

After dropping the car off, getting her and her food in my car, we both chit chatted a mile a minute. All went great as I took her only a few miles to her place.

“Can’t wait to see her face when she sees my plans,” God must have been thinking, because it turned out this dear lady lived at a retirement apartment complex. No way was I going to let her carry all her stuff up to the 4th level.  As I walked into that building, seeing a few elderly people walking around, one even needing a walker, a thought began to form.

Hmmm – I bet people here could sure use someone to clean their places. I just might look into this.

I asked the lady her thoughts about that while in the elevator.

“There sure are people who would love for you to do that. You’ll get quite a few! I promise.”

That next day, when picking her up to go get her car, I had a poster all ready to pin up in the main office’s wall, informing those living there about my cleaning service. That evening I got my first of many calls! God must have been grinning each time I answered the phone those first few days. Why?  Because I kept thinking that Gods timing of me coming out of that store was perfect, and that helping that dear older lady was far more important than keeping some ice cream from melting.

1*  Click here for God’s Timing Is Perfect #1 – Even when you’re scared.

2* Click here for God’s Timing Is Perfect #2 – A little love story.

Unforgettable Forgettable Pictures

There is nothing new except what has been forgotten.

—Marie Antoinette

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Memories. Memories can be tough sometimes. Sure, everyone has things here and there they don’t remember. But for me, I only had things here and there I DID remember when I walked into that new hospital to help me recuperate after being hit with encephalitis. (*1)

My stay at Good Samaritan Hospital in Puyallup, Washington, was much different than the first one I had stayed in close to three weeks before. Different types of therapists had well-structured class times in different rooms, covering different subjects, day after day. Much of my time was still spent in my room resting, because the more I had to work so hard to think caused me to get worn out. Believe me, I really appreciated my room.

Here’s a sample of what one of my many classes was like.

“Marianne, for starters, I’m going to hold up little pictures of things that are very common to most people,” my speech therapist said while holding up a photo taken from newspaper ads. “Let’s see if you can tell me what it’s called.” 

Looks easy, right? Wrong.

Of course, I don’t remember that exact first picture I was shown, but I’ll never forget how I felt: dumb.

Here’s one of my common responses. 

“I think I know what it is, but I’m not sure. What’s it called?”

The first time seeing each card was almost impossible. Usually, though, after being told what it was called, along with what it was for, it would finally click! I remembered the name…for a few seconds, anyway. I’d say it a few times over and over. Next, a new card. Once again, she told me the name and explained what it’s for. Then, oh, darn it, that first one again. Great. Back to square one.

“Don’t worry, Marianne,” she said, “This is very normal. Trust me, it will get better.”

Slowly but surely, as minutes went by, I remembered the names of the items. Then she added a third picture. Then a fourth. Not too hard anymore to swiftly see one, say its name, do the next, and then the next. 

I felt so much better at the end of that first class.

Don’t get your hopes up like I did, because the next day I came close to starting from scratch. I remember how sad I felt after seeing that first picture. But thankfully, that day I got them all down a lot faster, even adding more. It put the day before to shame, making me one happy camper.

“Soon you’ll have no problem remembering what it’s called the first time you see it!”

YIPPIE!

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These are actually a few of those original pictures I was given to take home. They probably assumed that years later I’d like to reminisce on how sweet and simple my thinking was. Why the names of each with the photo? Days later, once it had become easy for me to say the name of each, then the hard part – writing down what they were called. Not fun.

But my speech therapist  wasn’t done, and continued. “I do need to warn you that often, as soon as you try to say some words out loud in a sentence, that word may suddenly seem to disappear,” She told me that is an effect because of what happened to my brain. Thankfully, she then taught me how to describe things in such a way that would hide my new problem.

As an example, she showed me a picture of a dog. Now, in 2017, I can say dog without any thought, but back then, dream on. (Just don’t ask me now what KIND of dog.)

“So instead of telling your friend ‘I love your new… oh, sorry, I can’t remember what that type of animal is called,’ say something like ‘I love your adorable new family member.’ Does that make sense?”

“You mean, I can still sound like I know what I’m talking about even though I don’t know the right word?”

I never forgot how relieved I felt. There was hope. That was the best advice I think I got the entire two weeks I was there. Seriously, at least once a day, I still hide the fact I can’t pop that word out I had just thought. I am proud to say, I have mastered that skill. 😉
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I saved this one picture for last being I still have to think about this here batch of cool threads often used for knitting.

1* Click here to read how all this started 

How Sadness Showed Me God’s Presence

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Are you one who makes your own abbreviations for words you find difficult to spell or those that are really long? For instance, ‘E’ is the letter I type instead of encephalitis, the word used most often to describe the illness I had years ago. (*1)

That illness caused me to forget what the names of many people, places, and things were called. (I jokingly call it my noun illness. After all, I have to find some humor in it.) It also affected my spelling, making it harder for me to glue in certain words: ‘E’ being one of them. Excuse me, I mean encephalitis.

My last post (*2) shares how ‘E’ caused me to lose my senses of smell and taste, as well. Since there were many other things I was working on recalling—who my family and friends were, what certain items I was being shown were used for—food was far from the top of my list of what to work on to remember.  But, I still had to eat.

From that one day in the first hospital when I ‘woke up,’ (*4) they slowly but surely got me back to eating. However, sitting up on my bed was, to me, the only place to eat, having known of no other place…yet. Finally, one unforgettable day took place in the second hospital. I had my first experience eating in a room with other patients. No biggie for most twenty-three-year olds to eat with other people around, but for me, it was a day I’ll never forget.

“Now, Marianne, many patients eat together in this room,” my nurse told me as we walked down the hall to the dining room. “Everyone here is like you: all healthy enough and physically able to eat in this room together, but having a tough time remembering things. A few of you will sit at different tables, while a few people who work here will bring you your food.”

fotolia_106265296As I slowly looked around at all those tables, the nurse showed me where to sit. I’m glad she did, because there was no way was I able to think where to sit when I didn’t really love the idea of sitting next to strangers. Even people I’d known for years still seemed a little like strangers to me, but I knew these people I’d eat with really were strangers.

Once sitting, I was just like all the others: silent. While looking around, I noticed that the majority of those around me looked down-and-out. Sure, illness was to blame, but it still seemed far too negative to me. I had a brain-damaging illness, also, but I just didn’t get why I felt a bit more peace-filled than most of the others seemed to be.

After we got our food and as we slowly started talking, I sensed quite a few of those people were showing a bit too much anger to the other patients or to those who were serving us. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for the ones who had this negative glow around them.

They shouldn’t seem so upset about so much. It just makes being here harder. I feel sorry for them. They should be happier.

Seeing all that hit me hard, for some reason.

“Why are they like that?” I asked one of my nurses later that day.

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“Their brains have similar problems as yours and most patients can’t help but react that way. Many get mad at almost anything because they are sick and tired of working hard at remembering. There are really only a few like you who do not get angry while here working on memory.”

I ate in that room many times, eventually getting a bit more comfortable sitting with those few who were willing to be more positive. That first meal, however, is the one that stood out. Because of that time, I realized God was with me in that hospital. Even though I couldn’t understand it all at that moment, as days went by I realized it was because God, my Father, was holding me, the Holy Spirit was inside me, and Christ was sitting right there next to me. Those three are the ones I give credit to for keeping that little extra peace inside of me, which I felt and needed.

Thank you, Lord, for living in your children, even when we aren’t clear what it is we are going through.

Romans 8:26 – Likewise, the Spirit also helps our weaknesses. for we do not know what we should pray as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.  (NKJV)

Romans 8:27  –And He that searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because he makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.  (NKJV)

1* Click to read how my encephalitis began.

2* Click here to read my last posting about my lost senses.